15 Most Exciting Things to do in Destin With Kids

Destin has a special place in my heart. It’s one of the first cities that my husband and I started traveling to after we got married. It is actually the most visited beach along the Emerald coast of Florida. It may be famous for the color of the water and sand on its beaches, but Destin is so much more than that! If you are planning on visiting, you’ll be glad you checked out these 15 things to do in Destin with kids!

15 Most Exciting Things To Do In Destin With Kids

Eglin Beach Park

A beautiful beach that’s great for the family due to its typically small crowds. There’s a section of the park where you can swim in the clear blue waters underneath a road bridge. This is perfect shade for those traveling with itty-bitty ones in Destin.

Destin Park

This is a great place for water views, shaded picnic lunches, and fishing. If you’re kiddos are old enough to ride bikes or sit in a bike carriage, Destin Park is a great place to ride through the palm trees. It’s also perfect to relax and capture one of the best sunset views in Destin.

Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park

Big Kahuna’s is the perfect activity to add to your itinerary if you are traveling with kids. (or if you are just a water park fan ;p) Adult tickets are $44 and childrens tickets are just $35.

The park holds different festivals and events through out the year that can make your visit even more special. They have a BBQ festival in the summer, Oktoberfest in the fall, and Halloween Horror in October. For a complete list of their events, click HERE.

Eat The Back Porch

The Back Porch is right on the water and specializes in.. you guessed it, gulf coast seafood. We love their amazing shrimp gumbo! Once you’re done with your dinner you can walk down the stairs of the restaurant and onto the sandy shores of the gulf coast. Kick back and relax while you watch the sunset!

Gulfarium Marine & Adventure Park

The Gulfarium gives you opportunities for up close animal experiences. You can discover harbor seals, snorkel with stingrays, discover sea lions, alligators turtles, penguins and more!

However, if these experiences aren’t for you, you can just use your general admission ticket ($24 for adults in the summer) to explore all of their exhibits, shows, and demonstrations.

Henderson Beach State Park

You have to pay to enter Henderson Beach State Park, however the beaches are wonderfully cared for and you have access to a well kept bathroom and shower house. Something to consider before you go is the fact that the better quality beach brings in bigger crowds.

We love being in Henderson Beach State Park but isn’t actually necessary for you to pay to be on a beach in Destin.. nope. Not at all.

Go SUPing in the Bay

Other than relaxing on the beach and in the crystal clear waters, SUPing in the Destin harbor is my fave! You can rent paddle boards here starting at $25/hour. One thing you have to know before paddle boarding in the bay is that there will be waves from the boats passing by.

Super young or small kids will probably need to ride on board with a parent. Older kids should be just fine paddling across the bay by themselves. You can paddle across the bay to small sandy island where people park their boats and rest from kayaking and SUPing. You’ll find a lot of hermit crabs around this island which is so cool for your kiddos!

Visit Norriego Point

This is a little HIDDEN Destin beach gem! I have said it once and I will say it again and again. Norriego Point has THE best beach in Destin. The white sand beach has the clearest and most tranquil waters in Destin. {1 Gulf Shore Dr, Destin, FL 32541}

As of 2019 a development is set to begin building up and improving Norriego point. After that occurs, will it still be such a wonderful place things to do in Destin with kids? Well, yes and no. The beauty and benefits of the area will still be there. However, it probably will get more crowded.

It’s the perfect place to snorkel. It’s also a great place for children, because the waters are so still. There’s also a jetty that fish love to hang out around, so there’s plenty of opportunities for wildlife encounters. People like to use this area to fly kites as well, so if you’re lucky you’ll get a kite flying show while you’re chilling on the beach.

Navarre Beach Marine Park

One of Floridas most relaxing beaches! Take the 30 minute drive west to Navarre Beach for one of the very best beaches on the gulf coast.

Destin Harbor Boardwalk

Wonderful atmosphere! Music, drinks, dancing, tons of restaurants and places to buy souvenirs. You can walk along the boardwalk and dream about owning one of the boats anchored in the harbor. (Destin actually has the largest number of fishing vessels in Florida.)

You really can’t talk about things to do in Destin with kids without talking about the boardwalk. Yes, at night it turns into party central on the weekends and during peak tourist season. BUT it’s also a great place to take your kids for the activities, shopping, to grab lunch, and to walk along the water.

I love going out to the boardwalk and listening to the live music. Everyone finds their way to a table and chairs, but once they’re all taken everyone else just stands around eating, singing, and just having a great time. You can even zip line over the boardwalk. Definitely a must do when you are in Destin!

Take Sand Castle Lessons

One of the most memorable things to do in Destin with kids is to take sand castle building lessons! It’s such a fun ad unique way to enjoy your time together on the beautiful white sandy shores of Destin, Florida.

Fun fact: Destins white sand actually isn’t the sand that’s naturally found there. Quartz Crystal found in the Appalachian Mountains is ground up and brought down to the gulf via the Apalachicola River.

I had always assumed that the sand was natural and it’s honestly kind of disappointing to find out that it’s not, haha. Either way, Destin now has one of the whitest beaches in the world!

Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier

Great for bird watching, fishing, and fireworks in the summer. If you are looking for more information on what types of fish gets caught off of the pier, their Facebook page provides a report of what fish were got there at the end of each day.

Visit their Facebook page, HERE.

FudPuckers Restaurant

I LOVE FudPuckers! They have an alligator beach outside of the restaurant and an albino alligator housed inside. Your kids will jump on the opportunity to feed the gators outside before dinner. It’s also a great way to pass the time if you have to wait for a table. Waiting for a table with young kids can be difficult for the little ones, but it’s not an issue at Fudpuckers.

They have such a fun and colorful interior and it’s a great place to buy a souveneer t-shirt I like to get their fried alligator. Their hushpuppies and home made dipping sauce are also AMAZING!

Take a tour of Crab Island

Crab Island is a very popular place for vacationers in Destin. It actually isn’t much of a island at all, it’s a sandbar that makes for a great place to anchor boats. In some places you can get out into the water and swim or snorkel in the waist deep clear water.

*An interesting fact about Destin is that Destin use to be an island. However, over time the sand and sea levels have changed and the popular gulf coast city is now connected to the mainland.

Eat at Tail Fins Restaurant

Another one of my favorite restaurants, Tail Fins doesn’t just have great food, it also has an amazing view of that gorgeous Destin water. On our most recent trip we were able to watch a kite festival over the water while we ate lunch.

Where To Stay In Destin With Kids

Budget hotels: You can find hotels for less than $100/night in Destin, especially if you’re looking for rooms outside the peak season. You can start by looking at these budget hotel options.

Club Destin
Best Western Sugar Sands Inns & Suites

Days Inn By Wyndham

Air BnB: You can sometimes find Destin Air BnB’s at cheaper prices than budget hotels in Destin. You can also find amazing condos over looking the blue waters, dog friendly options, and rentals with pools as well.

Campgrounds: For all you campers and RVer’s, Destin has got you covered. You can find a range of prices, cabin rentals, and prime locations at Destin’s campgrounds. Keep in mind that these camp grounds are seriously amazing.. therefore they fill up fast. Some places take reservations up to 11 months in advance.

Camp Gulf
Henderson Beach State Park
Bayview RV Campground

Mid-range hotels: These hotels are around the $110-$160 /night range. You can find slightly nicer rooms, better breakfasts, and better pools at these hotels in comparison to budget hotels.

Hampton Inn & Suites
Fairfield Inn & Suites

Luxury hotels: You can expect to pay $200/night or more at these Destin hotels.

Emerald Grande
The Henderson Beach Resort and Spa

Is Destin Safe For Solo Travel Moms

As a mom who travels alone with her kids 98% of the time, I always want to know if where I want to go is going to be safe for me and my two young daughters. Let’s just be honest, we sadly live in a world where being born female makes you a target. Add kids to the mix and it’s even worse.

Anywhere you travel to, you obviously are going to need to use basic safety precautions and make smart decision. When it comes to Destin, I’ve never felt unsafe while traveling there. I’ve never felt the need to walk with my pepper spray in my hand or walk with my key between my fingers.

Destin can sometimes be a bit of a party town and the only time I felt a little uncomfortable with my kids in Destin was around the boardwalk where there were a lot of drunk people. It was getting late anyways and it was time to get kids out of that area anyways.

If you’re traveling alone with your kids in Destin, you should feel perfectly safe.

Conclusion: Things To Do In Destin With Kids

I hope this list has helped you explore your options a bit when it comes to planning your Destin vacation. There’s so many fun memories to be had with these things to do in Destin with kids. I know you’ll love Destin as much as my family does. Happy Traveling!

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2 thoughts on “15 Most Exciting Things to do in Destin With Kids

    1. Hi Kristen! A great budget friendly option is AJ’s Water Adventures. As of right now, the sunset dolphin cruises are $32/adult and $22/child over the age of 3!

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